Editor’s note: “Spiritual leaders answer” is a weekly column inviting Kaua‘i religious and spiritual leaders to share their doctrine’s perspective on a suggested subject. Every Friday a topic is printed inviting a response. Due to space limitations, submissions are edited. Thoughts or suggestions for future topics are always welcome. Next week’s subject is on fame. The topic at the end of the column is for the following week.
Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission
What would Shakamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, say about creation? There was such a question put to the Buddha. He refused to answer the question on the nature of the universe since it would only end up in argument and more suffering.
He used a parable to reply. One such parable is the story of Malunkyaputta’s arrow. It is the story of a warrior who was hit by a poisoned arrow. Buddha pointed out, if Malunkya wanted to know who made the arrow, how it was made; where the materials came from, etc., he would die before they found all the answers to such questions. The thing to do is to pull the arrow out.
Questions on creation are secondary to dealing with basic human problems.
Another parable is told of a man wounded by a poisoned arrow. His family brings him to a physician to cure him. But the man says, ‘First, I want to know if the man who wounded me, whether he is tall or short or of medium build, what village he came from, which family does he belong to, what sort of bow was he using,’ and so on. The Buddha said that the man would die before he learned all these things. Buddha urges all to walk the path to end suffering.
The Baha’is of Kaua‘i
Of all of God’s creations, mankind has received the greatest of gifts from Him: The capacity to know and to worship Him, and to have the spiritual potential to be in God’s image. But to whom “much is given, much is expected.”
Because man has the potential to acquire the attributes of God, one of our purposes in this lifetime is to strive to develop our character so that in our afterlife we will be closer to our creator. But in order for us to benefit from God’s love, we must acknowledge and love Him as our creator.
“Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him — a capacity that must be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation …”
As part of God’s creation, we must demonstrate the same love that God has for the rest of His creation. We must strive to love and protect the people and the rest of creation so that our existence will contribute to the betterment of this world and the advancement of civilization.
“The world of existence is an emanation of the merciful attribute of God. God has shone forth upon the phenomena of being through His effulgence of mercy and He is clement and kind to all His creation … For His bounties, like the light and heat of the sun in the material heavens, descend alike upon all mankind. Consequently man must learn the lesson of kindness and beneficence from God Himself. Just as God is kind to all humanity, man also must be kind to his fellow creatures. If his attitude is just and loving toward his fellow men, toward all creation, then indeed is he worthy of being pronounced the image and likeness of God. The purpose of the creation of man is the attainment of the supreme virtues of humanity through descent of the heavenly bestowals. The purpose of man’s creation is, therefore, unity and harmony, not discord and separateness.”
Created with the privilege of having the capacity to reason, love, and practice free will, we must each decide if our actions will contribute to the betterment of ourselves and our civilization, or will we reject the spiritual and intellectual gifts given us by our creator to follow the instincts of the animal.
Science of Mind Practitioner
I love to work with a variety of dictionaries and Bibles when given a topic. All have been created by so many different minds, yet are so close in their interpretations — meaning we are all one. Which brings to mind the most important quote regarding creation from Genisis I: 26-27 : “ … So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Many of us have missed this point: That we are born of God, in the image of God. The key is to believe it. The proof is all around us. We created medicines that stop disease, homes that protect us from the wind and rain, materials that protect our foods to last longer, flights that can go to the moon. With each creation God smiles, knowing it is proof of our self-confidence and self-love.
Creation isn’t just about bringing things into existence. A small child born into our world creates changes within mind and soul of its parents. The smile begets a smile, hope begets hope, love begets love, forgiveness begets forgiveness.
Our very thoughts create. There’s a phrase in Science of Mind, “Change your thinking, change your life.” With this in mind, I was taught to concentrate on that which makes me happy, not that which causes me to be angry or jealous or unforgiving. As I practiced, I found that anger and discontent, even sadness, was useless. It served no purpose. I found my thoughts of love and joy and trust to be much more powerful and they soon took over. My former problems magically dissolved, because I had learned to accept people to be where they were. I learned not to change them, but to create change within myself and set an example. Creation does not just belong to God, but to our God within.
Topic for two
weeks from today:
•Will you speak to us on chaos?
•Spiritual leaders are invited to e-mail responses of three to five paragraphs to firstname.lastname@example.org
• Deadline each week is Tuesday, by 5 p.m.